Motherhood Memoirs: A Mile in Her Shoes

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Motherhood Memoirs: A Mile in Her Shoes

February 24, 2015 by  2 Comments

“Mommies are sure busy,” he says this morning in between bites of his breakfast. He sits on a stool in the kitchen, watching me dart from one task to the next. I hadn’t noticed the handsome four-year-olds’ eyes following my rushed beeline until now, but those big, brown eyes make me smile when I notice his interest in the morning tasks.

It’s a busy week around here. There are playgroups to host, book studies to lead, engagement parties to throw, and a women’s ministry event to attend. All good and joy-filled occasions fill the calendar. I enjoy a little hustle and bustle in my routine, and am looking forward to each happy event! It’s just…busy. 

Everyone is busy. Many women are far busier than I am. That’s the way it goes, you know. Someone is always busier…someone always less busy. Someone has more on her plate and someone less. There’s really no use in complaining because God gives us all the same number of hours each day. How we spend them? That’s completely for us to decide. Each woman must make her own schedule.

The preschooler is right.

Mommies are sure busy.

From the mouths of babes comes such wisdom…spoken like the cowboy he believes himself to be. {Really. My children live in town, but they all think they’re country boys. I love it!} Mommies ARE sure busy. Truth. Yet, I carry around a big dose of guilt. 

If you’re a mother, then you know all about “Mommy Guilt.” Like it or not, the guilt manifests itself into our hearts in one way or another. We all want to get it right, to do our very best for our own littles, and to fulfill this role of motherhood. We all wonder, though, if someone else is doing it better.

“Mommy,” has been one of my most important job titles for nearly six years now. I’ve been a stay at home mom for the past three years. I spent just as much time being a working mom. The first three years of motherhood were shared with a classroom of elementary school kiddos. To really understand my heart, you have to know that my time has been equally divided as a working mommy {teacher} and a stay-at-home mommy. I completely LOVE both, by the way: teaching and mothering. I’m always doing both. Whether I’m a mother who teaches or a teacher who mothers, my heart will have it no other way. I never fully remove either of those “hats,” and I fully recognize the desire that God placed in my heart to both educate and nurture children. 

I am absolutely thankful for the perspective this divided time has provided me, as a mother. It allows me to relate better to other women and makes me much slower to judge another…because I get it. I fully get “Mommy guilt” and I know that it is everywhere. The battle between working moms and stay-at-home moms is rather nauseating to me, perhaps because my the battle is profoundly noisy in my own heart. I battle the inner monologue of my own working mom years with my current stay-at-home mom years frequently. I have come to understand a few things about motherhood that my mind couldn’t even begin to comprehend a few years ago. Really, friends. My heart ached as a working mother, constantly wondering if I could be doing something better and I was completely plagued with the guilt that my babies were away from me. I fully believed that the grass would be greener on the other side and that the mommy guilt would be remedied at last. Oh. My. Stars. I was foolish. Women desperately need to walk a mile in one another’s shoes, not only for the sake of giving one another more grace but especially for the sake of giving ourselvesmore grace. Women everywhere, hear me on this: we MUST become kinder to ourselves and kinder to one another. Right now. Wherever you are making a bee line and no matter what you are juggling, just pause. Motherhood matters. No matter how you are doing this “mom thing?” It matters. It matters because God has given you a purpose and a part in His plan that only YOU can fulfill. It matters because you have been entrusted with this irreplaceable role of nurturing little hearts into adulthood. It matters because motherhood changes the world, one little heart, one little life, and one little soul at a time. Your part of the story? It is essential to His plan because He has entrusted someone’s life to your care.

Far be it from me to ever claim expertise as a blogger, but we’re all learning different things in our own journeys. From my heart to yours, here are a few things that I know FOR SURE about motherhood:

1) The mommy guilt won’t leave you. You must leave it. You have to take those thoughts captive. They aren’t from God. Now, perhaps your guilt is of a different nature and isn’t really about whether or not you work. Maybe you have guilt when you don’t exercise enough or when you feed your children fast-food. Maybe you feel guilty because your child’s schedule is too busy with activities or guilty because your kids aren’t enrolled in extracurriculars. Motherhood is just full of options and you want to make the right ones. Every day, you are identifying with your choices because you think for yourself but also for someone else’s own good. Nursing mother or bottle feeding? Public school, private school, or homeschool? I know that options can make us feel guilty. You’re sure to fall victim to guilt at some point. You’ll feel guilty because you are at work, or you will feel guilty because someone else is at work. (I didn’t even know that was possible until I became a stay-at-home mom…that I would feel guilty for NOT working. Maybe you relate?) You’ll either feel guilty because your babies are in daycare or you will feel guilty because they aren’t in preschool. Sheesh. Let me tell you the truth about guilt, sweet friends. Guilt doesn’t come from God. Our Heavenly Father doesn’t plague us with guilt or label us as “not enough.” No. Jesus says you are enough. From God, you will be convicted. His loving kindness is always drawing us close to Him and guiding our hearts to repent of sin. But guilt? It is the enemy that gives guilt and fuels Mommy wars. It is real and it must be stopped. We must join arms, take those thoughts of guilt captive, and march forward in battle fighting off the guilt that makes women feel inferior. Jesus says we are enough. He calls us His. It is time for we mothers to remember that we are daughters of His.

2) The grass is very green on both sides, actually! I could spend time pointing out the negatives of both sides. With anything, negatives exist. Nah. Let’s move on. Motherhood is beautiful! The grass is green and flowery on both sides! Don’t believe me?

Working moms:
-The look in their eyes when they see you walk in the door? Pure bliss! Every day as a working mom has this moment, a precious reminder of your value in the happy eyes of a child after a long day’s work. Is anything more rewarding than the way only you can make your child’s face light up? You are guaranteed this moment every day. Soak this up.

Stay-at-home moms:
-The opportunity to clean messy hands after lunch while singing, “This is the way we wash our face, wash our face, wash our face,”…yes. That moment is a treasure. Those little moments are daily reminders that life is a gift, as you savor the small things.

I could make very long lists for both of these roles full of ups and downs. The grass isn’t greener on the other side. I assure you that the grass is plentiful in whichever field of motherhood God has called you. Follow Jesus with your whole heart and embrace the joy that He has set before you.

3) We must never judge a mother unless we have walked a mile in her shoes. It is time that we build one another up! Let’s determine that our thoughts and words about another mother will be limited to thoughts and words that encourage her. Her story is different than mine. Her day is filled with challenges that I know nothing about. I DO know that her day is busy. Motherhood is busy. Is there any other job in the world with such a lengthy job description. I once wrote out everything I needed to complete in a week. May I recommend NOT making that list, friends?! Never, ever do that to yourself. Just keep moving forward. You don’t want to see it on paper, my sisters. You don’t want to spend time writing it down either. It is the list that never ends. I have learned as a stay-at-home mom that I still don’t have enough hours in the day to do everything I would like to do the way I would like to do it. I could work through the night and still find something to do. This. Is. Motherhood. (So, I choose to sleep at night…well…sort of. I might be a bit of a night owl, but that is another blog post for another day.) The simple reality is that we all have twenty-four hours. We all must choose how to spend those hours, yet we all have different demands on our time. The large majority of women are doing the very best that they possibly can. Honor that with your words. Honor that with your thoughts. 

No matter what your day looks like or what is required of you, work at it with your whole heart. Motherhood is a blessing…even when it feels like “you’re sure busy.” Your busyness? Make your busyness about the business of changing lives one little soul at a time. God called you to motherhood for His purpose. He has entrusted you with His creation. He calls you His own. Embrace this journey.

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.
~Colossians 3:23

From my heart to yours,